Device Similar to Fictional Stark Trek "Tricorder" Developed Using JPL Technology

Published : Wednesday, September 6, 2017 | 6:59 PM

Remember the “tricorder,” a medical device that the fictional Dr. McCoy in “Star Trek” uses to examine patients in an instant?

Similar devices have been developed over the years in response to a clamor for something that could monitor vital signs and diagnose disease, but none has come close to what a start-up in Rockville, Maryland has conceptualized using technology developed here in Pasadena at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

The start-up, V-Sense Medical Devices, now has a prototype of the device, called the Welbi.

It’s designed to let people monitor their elderly relatives remotely, using low power radio waves to sense the heart rate of people in the room, and can detect even tiny changes in the body as people breathe in and out, according to a report Daily Mail (

Welbi now comes with a special mobile app that can display the data transmitted from the device, which can be shared with doctors.

V-Sense calls Welbi the first remote no-contact health data monitor. It can monitor heart rate, respiratory rate. and heart rate variability.

The device emits low-power radio frequency signals that shine on the person’s body and reflects back differently depending on how the body is expanding and contracting with each breath or heartbeat.

Because the body expands much more for each breath than a heartbeat, it’s easy for the system to tell the data apart.

After the device collects 30 seconds of data, an algorithm processes it to deliver back a heart rate and respiratory rate, and that information is sent to the cloud.

At any time, the person’s relatives can open the Welbi app on their smartphones and see at a glance how their loved one is doing.

V-Sense founder and Chief Executive Officer Jeff Nosanov says the underlying technology now in Welbi was developed to identify victims of natural disasters by locating sources of heartbeats in rubble piles. Nosanov has five years of experience as a principal investigator at JPL, a JD degree and an LL.M. in Space and Telecommunications law.

The technology, developed with the Department of Homeland Technology’s Science and Technology Directorate in Washington, D.C., was named Finding Individuals for Disaster and Emergency Response, or FINDER.

FINDER could detect a human heartbeat buried beneath up to 30 feet of crushed material, hidden behind 20 feet of solid concrete, and from a distance of 100 feet in open space.

With the FINDER system now being used in a home monitor like the Welbi, the person being monitored does not need to wear any kind of wearable, keep any lead or contact attached to their body, or change their behavior or routine in any way.

“Our mission at Welbi is to give you and your family confidence and peace of mind,” V-Sense says on its Welbi-dedicated website, “Our monitors allow you to track the heart and respiration rates of your loved ones from anywhere to ensure their well-being while they are home alone without assistance.”

V-Sense has launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for further developing the Welbi and put forward improvements such as reducing processing time for the device, developing the mobile application and the cloud-based architecture, and finally getting the Welbi into more hands than ever.

To find out more about Welbi and its KickStarter campaign, visit . For more details on V-Sense Medical Services, visit . ?




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